* .* -
.4 *L. "
Liesl O'Dell (BS '92)
Meredith Cochie (BSJ '06)
Jamison Webb (4JM)
April Frawley Birdwell (BSJ '02)
Ann Griswold (PhD '06)
Meredith Jean Morton (BSJ '06)
Tom Watson (BME '56, BSME '56)
University of Florida
Office of University Relations
'JU | UNIVERSITY of
Florida is published three times a year and
sent free to all alumni, parents and
friends of the University of Florida.
Opinions expressed in Florida do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or
official policies of the University of Florida. the
University of Florida Foundation
or the UF Alumni Association.
UF Alumni Association
UF Alumni Association Web address
Copyright 0 2007
Florida is printed on recycled paper
and is recyclable.
Memories from Afar
I usually just glance through
the alumni magazine when
it arrives in my mailbox in
Holland my college years
and Florida often seem so far
away. But the summer 2006
issue really fired my interest
and imagination. The story on
Donald Boyd's research into
the Depression-era 'pack-horse
librarians' in the Appalachians
("Reading & Riding") opened
a small piece of American
history to me that is as noble
as it has been overlooked.
What marvellous photos. I
also loved reading about Neal
Goss hang gliding at 84 ("Han-
gin' Tough"), and Kim Hahn
overcoming and building on
personal disappointments to
create the family she longed
for and a whole new maga-
zine. ("New Life") Go, Gators
- you are a proud, talented
and resilient bunch. I even got
a bit enthusiastic about the
"Top Five Reasons to Attend
Gator Growl," although let's
please put history straight. Bob
Hope's appearance (I was there)
was abysmal. The footage was
to be part of some grand Bob
Hope TV gala (maybe the only
reason he did it?), and after the
crowd was forced to cheer his
entry four times in a row until
Bob was satisfied, the mood
quickly went downhill. Poor
Irene Cara (obviously lip-syn-
ching) was booed offstage. But
I imagine things were learned
from that year's event. The Ga-
tor Growl is not a willing pawn
in any star's publicity mill but
a discerning and demanding
audience that deserves the best
any performer can give.
Karen Holt (BSJ '83)
Utrecht, The Netherlands
I was delighted to read your
article about "Operation Cat-
nip" founded by Dr. Julie Levy.
("Hello, Kitty," fall 2006) As
a student at the University of
Florida during the late 1970s,
I was very saddened by the
number of abandoned pets
which populated Gainesville.
Fortunately, I was able to adopt
a homeless cat in 1979, and he
lived with me while I complet-
ed my undergraduate studies
and law school. After graduat-
ing in 1981, Mr. Cat moved
with me as I began my legal
career and remained a part of
my life for another nine years.
As much as I loved Mr.
Cat, I am glad that there is
now a program to help reduce
the number of feral cats liv-
ing in Gainesville. Thank you
for featuring the work of a
UF faculty member providing
such a humane service to the
Lisa Miller (BA 79, JD '81)
I read with particular inter-
est your recent article, "On
the Defense" (fall 2006), a
forward-looking piece on how
UF has been allocated $55.5
million by the Florida Legis-
lature "to erect a building that
will eventually house as many
as 100 scientists from dozens
of fields" to study and prepare
a credible defense to shield this
state and nation against the
emerging threat of pathogens
in the 21st Century. As a UF
alumna, I am pleased that UF
was chosen for such an honor-
able and challenging task.
As a Florida resident liv-
ing in Miami-Dade County,
I understand the benefits and
hazards of living in a grow-
ing urban metropolitan area.
With its wonderful mix of
ethnic cultures and economic
growth, Miami has and prob-
ably will continue to bear the
brunt of caring for the majority
of Florida's sick international
visitors and immigrants. Inter-
national business and personal
travel into and out of Miami
International Airport and the
Port of Miami make Miami-
Dade County a "hot zone" for
potential pathogens. Other ma-
jor urban "hot zones" no doubt
include Jacksonville (due par-
ticularly to its cargo port and
U.S. Naval presence), Orlando
(given its numerous tourist
attractions and theme parks),
and, to a lesser extent, Fort
Lauderdale and Tampa (also
due to their international ports
Florida, in cooperation
with the Centers for Disease
Control and the Department
of Homeland Security, needs
a very real plan which can be
implemented quickly to ensure
a step-by-step approach to
meeting this type of threat.
I wish UF and all of its sci-
entists my very best, and pray
for God's guidance for all of us
as we meet the challenges of
the 21st Century. Team work
and a strong sense of faith
Sally Barrett (BA 76)
Send your letter to the editor via
fax 352-392-7676 or mail to
PO. Box 14425, Gainesville,
FL 32604-2425. Lirreri may be
edited for length.
ON THE COVER
Chris Leak want the
only eater seleratb
ing hil t~am'i win OlVr
Ohio State n Jan, 6,
Se@ how other water
celebrated found the
TRACY WILCOX/THE GAINESVILLE SUN
10 ..............................n.............. ................. Your T p PFve Health Threats
How UF's top docs hope to stop the nation's most common killers.
16 ............................................ ....... Cheers Heard 'Round the W world
Festivities for the BCS National Championship game extended
well beyond the borders of Gainesville and Glendale.
IN EVERY ISSUE
ON CAMPUS NEWS ABOUT CAMPUS, FACULTY AND STUDENTS
4 ......i... ..................................................... ....... Nature by Num bers
Faculty Profile: Mathematician Ben Bolker solves the equations in ecology.
5 ........................................................................................ ii She W alks Tall
Student profile: Veronica Armbruster may seem unsteady on her feet,
but it doesn't stop her from reaching new heights.
6 ....................................................................................... W hat's Your f
In the Classroom: UF class helps students sink their teeth into
"The Meat We Eat."
7 .................. ...................... ........ ...... .........m .............. The Coed Invaslon
UF Flashback: The advent of women on campus
was not without incident.
8 ............................................................................. H m e Field Advantage
Sports Profile: Gainesville's Kelli Eisenbrown fulfills
childhood dreams on UF's soccer team.
9 .. ........................................................... ... ... .............. Hitting the Br ks
How well do you know campus?
18 ................................i.............. ................. .. ......... Lasting Im prosslons
Former baseball player Maury Hurt (BA '56) paints a portrait of passion and
S 2 0 .............................................................................. ... w lm spades
Former Gator standout Megan Melgaard (BSBA '01, MS '02) makes her
ALUMNI ALUMNI MEMORIES AND HAPPENINGS
S22 ........................ ... .................................................... M y Old hool01
Remembering the terror of 1990.
2 7 ....3..3............................................ ............. ..........3 ,Pajam a Pandem onIum
Tom Watson (BME '56, BSME '56) recalls a late-night Frolic.
news for alumni and friends of
the university of florida
winter 2007 3
by JNumb er s
MATHEMATICIAN BEN BOLKER
SOLVES THE EQUATIONS
As a statistician, Ben Bolker uses
math to develop models that an-
swer the "what if" questions in
But there's more to Bolker than
numbers. He's as much a scientist
as a statistician, making him a rar-
ity among traditional "math guys,"
colleagues and students say.
"Ecology is so complicated that
you can't just look at the data,"
Bolker says. "You can't just do
an experiment. There are people
like me who spend all their time
thinking, 'What would the pattern
Bolker's field, theoretical ecol-
ogy, sounds abstract, but he de-
scribes it more simply as ecological
modeling. He takes data other
researchers collect during experi-
ments and devises the mathemati-
cal means to answer questions the
results cannot answer alone, mostly
about the population patterns of
plants and animals. He also tries to
answer ecological questions of the
hypothetical sort, derived from his
own brain. This can help research-
ers know what type of data to col-
lect, he says.
"For example, if we see a patch
of plants, is that because there is
a patch of nutrients there, or is it
because some seed landed there
four generations ago and now it is
spreading?" he says.
Since coming to UF from Princ-
eton University in 1999, Bolker has
collaborated with ecologists from
UF and other institutions on proj-
ects studying sea turtles, bluebirds
in South Carolina and reef fish in
the Florida Keys. He's working with
As a theoretical ecologist, Ben Bolker looks for mathematical patterns in the
data collected by field researchers.
scientists to identify how exotic
plants are invading California and
has studied the role of disease in
animal and plant extinctions.
"Ben is, in fact, a talented and
gifted biologist," says Craig Osen-
berg, a professor of zoology who
collaborated with Bolker on a reef
fish study. "He also has these in-
credible math skills. You put all that
together, and I don't know anyone
better. Ben is brilliant."
Aside from research, Bolker tries
to break down math barriers for
students. He wants to help more
undergraduate biology students re-
alize they can use math to enhance
science while the subject is still
fresh in their minds.
"Ben is one of the most patient
professors I've ever worked with,"
says Mike McCoy, a former student
who earned his doctorate in zool-
ogy in 2006. "He gave an extraor-
dinary amount of his personal time
to me. He really takes mentoring
The downside of being the
"math guy" in a zoology depart-
ment is that most of his work takes
place at a desk and not in the steely
blue waters off the coast or in a
California field. But that's OK, he
says. Collecting data from plants
and animals isn't easy.
The plants and animals aren't
the main reason he got into the
field anyway, he says.
"I like being in the woods, and I
like looking at animals, but I most-
ly like understanding how things
work," he says. "It's important to
me to study something I also enjoy.
There's a reason I'm studying ecol-
ogy and not physics."
- April Frawley Birdwell (BSJ '02)
OUT OF AFRICA
"Continuity and Change:
Three Generations of
Ethiopian Artists" tells
the story of modern and
contemporary art in
Ethiopia from the 1940s
to the present. The exhi-
bition, which runs at the
Samuel P. Harn Museum
of Art through April 29,
also explores the role of
government support of artists as part of a purposeful
strategy for the modernization of Ethiopia.
FROM TIBET TO GAINESVILLE
The Florida Museum of Natural History hosts the
Newark Museum's famed collection of Tibetan arti-
facts for its "Tibet: Mountains and Valleys, Castles
and Tents" exhibition.
through rare photographs,
weapons, jewelry, equestrian items and other
articles. The exhibit continues through May.
She Walks Tall
VERONICA ARMBRUSTER MAY
SEEM UNSTEADY ON HER FEET, :
BUT IT DOESN'T STOP HER FROM
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS.
Veronica Armbruster runs every morn-
ing, usually on Flavet Field near her
dorm. After that, she does sit-ups, then
It's easy compared to martial arts
classes or crawling low across the ground
at 6 a.m. during grenade runs, she says,
recalling the most grueling exercise she
completed when she trained with UF
.rmy ROTC cadets her freshman year.
Armbruster, a sprite-like junior who Veronica Armbruster, who has cerebral palsy, joined
one day hopes to work for the Central UF Army ROTC in hopes she can someday work for
Intelligence Agency, isn't the fastest run- the CIA.
ner. She's not the steadiest, either. But
she may be the most determined. After all, 10 years ago, she couldn't run at all.
Armbruster, 21, has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects muscle control,
movement and, in some cases, speech and learning. She has a mild form, but she still struggles
to control her steps, steadying herself with a walking stick.
Cerebral palsy never stopped her from learning martial arts, joining the high school weight-
lifting team and drama club, volunteering, going to college, taking ROTC courses or keeping
up with cadets in training exercises.
"I just consider myself normal," Armbruster says. "My parents always pushed me to do
Armbruster may never have been able to train with ROTC cadets or even walk to class if
her parents hadn't heard a news report about a University of Miami doctor performing bio-
feedback therapy on people with physical disabilities.
When Armbruster was 13, her parents took her to Miami where doctors connected elec-
trodes to different points on her body so she could see on a computer screen what happened
each time she tried to move a specific limb. Seeing a line rise up when she raised a limb helped
her connect the dots between her head and her movements, she says.
Armbruster had used a wheelchair at school, but after three weeks of treatment she gradu-
ated from walking with two arm-cuff crutches to using a walking stick.
She's defied odds since birth. Born three months premature, she survived when doctors said
she wouldn't and overcame medical obstacles, namely the kidney transplant she underwent at
age 6. She calls the organ her mother gave her "the best Christmas present I ever got."
Showing up every morning to work out with cadets seems almost small by comparison, but
it's not something most freshmen do, regardless of disabilities, says Lt. Col. John Hansen, who
oversees the UF Army ROTC.
"I was personally inspired by her drive and determination," he says. "She's breaking down
barriers. She'll do well in life."
Armbruster says she got involved with the ROTC because she thought it would help her
goal to work for the CIA. But she also liked feeling she was part of a group, she says. She's still
friends with some of the cadets and studies in Van Fleet Hall, where ROTC is housed.
"It has been the most wonderful thing in my life," she says. "If I didn't have the health
problems I have, I would enlist in a heartbeat."
April Frawley Birdwell (BSJ '02)
winter 2007 5
load pictures and videos, share
stories about UF, learn facts about
the university and connect with
other alumni at this online com-
munity for the Gator Nation.
an EDGE from UF's College of
Engineering. The Electronic Deliv-
ery of Graduate Engineering is a
unique long-distance opportunity
for engineers to strengthen their
careers by earning master's de-
grees in six program areas.
shtmi Explore one of UF's most
identifiable landmarks through
the Century Tower Carillon Web
site, which offers a history of the
tower, up-close photos of the
carillon's 61 bells and sound clips
of the clock striking noon.
about the SubjuGator, an au-
tonomous underwater vehicle
designed and built by students
with UF's Machine Intelligence
Lab. The robot placed first for the
past two years atthe Association
for Unmanned Vehicle Systems
International competitions in San
your contribution to this Gator
"wiki," a special Web encyclope-
dia in which all entries are submit-
ted and edited by the site's users.
esp Keep an eye on the UF
campus with this continually up-
dated Web cam overlooking the J.
Wayne Reitz Union's north lawn.
To find any UP Web site, visit
What's Your Beef?
UP CLASS HELPS STUDENTS
SINK THEIR TEETH INTO THE
MEAT WE EAT.
The verdict is in: Headcheese is
"It's like pig snouts in Jell-O,"
says Lauren Johnston, a freshman,
after seeing the congealed pork dish
for the first time. "I don't care how
much you pay me, I would not try
Cow tongue soup is pretty tasty
though, Johnston reports after
sampling the Venezuelan dish,
along with steak and other meats at
an October meat-sampling session
with classmates from the UF course
"The Meat We Eat."
With perhaps the best name
in the entire course catalog, "The
Meat We Eat" could be on the
verge of widespread popularity as
word of its existence continues to
pass from student to student each
But it's not just the myriad
meats, tongue tasting and snout
sightings that draw students to the
class animal sciences assistant pro-
fessor Terry Houser teaches. John-
ston and other students are taught
how different meats are produced,
how safe and nutritious meats actu-
ally are and why pork isn't really the
other white meat.
"Everybody asks me that ques-
tion, 'Why is pork called the other
white meat?'" Houser says. "It is
light-colored, but the USDA de-
fines pork as a red meat."
Most students who take the class
don't know much about the meat
industry or how meat is produced
when the semester begins. Actu-
ally, many students who enroll in
the course don't know much about
meat in general, one of the reasons
Houser doesn't mind that the lure
of eating meat draws some students
to the class.
As more Americans turn to fast
food and convenient microwavable
meals, Houser says fewer people are
nic dishes and
as capicola, a
ian meat many
ing his class.
Houser said he
tries to expose
students to as
many different types of meat as
possible. Otherwise "The Meat We
Eat" could one day be "The Big
Macs, Whoppers and Junior Bacon
Cheeseburgers We Eat."
"There are as many different
types of meat products out there as
there are different types of wines,"
Maggie Low, a senior who took
the class in the fall, admits she's
never been much of a meat-eater.
But after sampling meats at one of
the two optional meat-tasting labs
offered during the course, she dis-
covered cow tongue "doesn't taste
bad," and that she likes pork. She
even bought some at the grocery
While Houser doesn't shy away
from explaining how cows become
hamburger, students don't learn
solely about the end product. "If
they go through my class, they'll get
a better understanding of why we
do this and what the needs are for
the human population," he says.
Already a regular meat-eater,
Johnston says taking the class
has changed how she thinks
about the dishes she orders in
restaurants. Cuts of steak are no
longer just names to her. Now
she knows where T-bones and
briskets come from.
And though she vows head-
cheese will never cross her lips,
Johnston says she's learned to give
some foods, such as cow tongue
soup, a chance.
"That was the most unusual
thing I've ever eaten," she said. "It
was really good. I was surprised."
- April Frawley Birdwell (BSJ '02)
The Coed Invasion
THE ADVENT OF WOMEN ON CAMPUS WASN'T WITHOUT INCIDENTS.
By ulian Pleasant
While doing research for my book,
"Gator Tales: An Oral History of
the University of Florida," I became
intrigued by the extraordinary
impact coeducation had on higher
education in Florida. In particular,
I was fascinated by the response of
male students and the administra-
tion at UF to the dramatic change
in the culture and society of the
President J. Hillis Miller had a
difficult challenge in dealing with
the rapidly increasing number of
female students on campus. He ap-
pointed Marna Brady, a red-haired
former Marine Corps officer, as the
first dean of women.
Wanda Ebersole (BSP '51), in
the first class of 1,639 female smu-
dents, described the transition to
coeducation as easy, primarily be-
cause the male students were so ex-
cited to see women on campus. The
director of the student union noted
that with the advent of females
on campus, male students dressed
better, showered more often and
displayed better manners.
Ebersole thought some of the
restrictions on women in 1948
were both arcane and antiquated.
Women could nor wear shorts,
slacks or dungarees on campus,
and in the public areas of the
residence halls, the administra-
tion required "skirts and proper
attire plunging necklines are
in bad taste for campus wear." If
these rules were violated, students
could be confined to the dorm on
weekends. If multiple offenses oc-
curred, the students faced suspen-
sion from the university.
Other rules required female
student dorm curfews at 11 p.m.
on weeknights and midnight on
weekends. Contrary to popular
belief, most of the social regula-
tions were devised by and enforced
by the Women's Student Associa-
tion. By the end of the 1960s, the
university assented to mixed gen-
der dorms, and most of the rules
A 1952 panty raid was just one way UF's men reacted to the arrival of women
on campus. "Boysclamber up onto the ledges at Reid Hall and converse with
coeds through the windows during the early Thursday morning riot," the AllIga-
tor reported. "It was estimated that 1,000 men were active in the riot."
concerning curfews and dress codes
had been eliminated.
The most notorious aspect of a
delayed male reaction to coeduca-
tion might have been the infamous
May 7,1952, panty raid. More than
1,000 bored male students marched
on the female dorms in search of
lingerie. They raced through the
dorms, purloined undergarments
- some cooperatively supplied -
and waved the ill-gotten garments
from the windows to their cheering
supporters below. Brady described
the women's defensive measures:
they locked the dorm doors and
sequestered the females in their
rooms with the windows closed.
In one case, a dorm counselor
waved a revolver to discourage the
raiders while a colleague belabored
the intruders with a broom. Mean-
while, in one of the sorority houses,
some sorority sisters took their
elderly housemother upstairs and
locked themselves in a bedroom.
Although they protected most of
their unmentionables, one sister
later received a phone call from an
administrator informing her that
her bra was being held in one of the
offices and that she should come
and pick it up. She had sewn name
tags in all her underwear. Another
group of overheated male students
launched a rerun of the pancy raid
seven years later, but after that time
the fad subsided.
The admission of women to
UF (26,456 are enrolled today)
has proven to be a great boon both
to the university community and
to those who had previously been
denied the opportunity to study at
a state university. When they ar-
rived at UF, women brought brains,
diversity, new perspectives and a
strong commitment to learning. For
the past 60 years, UF has reaped the
benefits of coeducation, which, in
essence, is a microcosm of the real
world minus the panty raids.
Julian Pleasants is
director ofthe Samuel Proctor Oral
Rodney Bartlett (PhD '71), a grad-
uate research professor of chem-
istry and physics, has received
the American Chemical Society
Award in Theoretical Chemistry.
* Fredric G. Levin College of Law
professor Dennis Calfee (LLMT'75)
was awarded the Public Finance
Specialty Medal by the govern-
ment of Taiwan. Dan Cantliffe,
horticultural sciences chairman
for UF's Institute of Food and Ag-
ricultural Sciences, was inducted
as a fellow of the International
Society for Horticultural Science.
* Daniel Driscoll, professor and
pediatric geneticist, was inducted
into the Johns Hopkins University
Society of Scholars.
* Athletic Director Jeremy Foley
was named Athletic Director
of the Year by Street & Smith's
SportsBusiness Journal. Kristin
Larsen (BSBA '86, MAURP '90).
assistant professor of urban and
regional planning, was appointed
to Florida's Affordable Housing
Study Commission by Gov. Jeb
Bush. David Ling, William D.
Hussey Professor of Real Estate,
was named the seventh most
influential real estate researcher
in the country in the fall issue of
Real Estate Economics. Samuel
Low (MED '80), associate dean for
faculty practice and continuing
education for the College of Medi-
cine, was elected secretary-trea-
surer of the American Academy
of Periodontology. He becomes
president of the organization
in 2010 Alan Katritzky, Kenan
Professor for the Department of
Chemistry, was awarded the Kost
Medal by the International Sci-
entific Partnership Foundation of
Russia. Botany professors Doug
Soltis, Pam Soltis, David Dilcher
and William Stern each received
the Centennial Award from the
Botanical Society of America.
* UNDER THE SEA: The Archie
Carr Center for Sea Turtle Re-
search was established nearly
20 years ago to find innovative
solutions for sea turtle conser-
vation. Its namesake, Archie
Carr (BS '33, MS '34, PhD '37),
was a longtime faculty member
who pioneered turtle conserva-
tion worldwide during his 50-
* SHOW ME THE MONEY: UF
ranks fifth among North Ameri-
can universities for its ability to
bring new technologies to the
marketplace, according to the
Milken Institute, a California-
based economic think tank. UF
earned roughly $43 million in
licensing income in 2006.
* SHELF SPACE: The newly re-
modeled Library West of the
George A. Smathers Libraries
contains 68,909 shelves ca-
pable of containing 1.7 million
volumes. If laid end-to-end, the
shelves would stretch 39 miles,
or roughly the distance from
Gainesville to Ocala.
* PLANTING A SEED: UF is among
the first universities in the na-
tion to offer an organic farming
major. The first class, about
organic crop production, was
offered last fall.
* FROM A DISTANCE: The Berg-
strom Center for Real Estate
Studies in the Warrington Col-
lege of Business Administration
offers the only online live-lec-
ture real estate pre-licensing
course of its kind in the state.
More than 40,000 candidates
take the state licensing exam
annually. For information, visit
Home Field Advantage
CHILDHOOD DREAMS ON
UPS SOCCER TEAM.
When a young fan approaches Ga-
tor soccer player Kelli Eisenbrown
for an autograph, Eisenbrown
identifies fully with the child's
excitement and admiration.
More than a decade ago, the
UF women's soccer team made its
debut at James G. Pressly Stadium,
and Eisenbrown, then a 10-year-
old soccer player, was there cheer-
ing for the team.
Like many Gainesville natives,
Eisenbrown grew up immersed in
UF athletics. During her child-
hood she attended Gator sporting
events such as swim meets, baseball
games and the occasional football
and basketball games.
"Growing up here and go-
ing from a fan to a player helps
me appreciate our younger fans,"
says Eisenbrown, a 2003 gradu-
ate of Buchholz High School.
"When kids come up to me for
autographs, it makes me remember
being at the grocery store as a kid
and seeing a soccer player or [other
Gator athlete]. I would get really
Although Eisenbrown initially
wanted to leave Gainesville to
attend college, she says that as she
enters her senior year in physical
therapy studies, she is glad she has
stayed in her hometown and plays
for her beloved Gators.
The 21-year-old realizes there
are perks to staying cose to home,
such as enjoying a huge fan base.
"My mom lives in town, so
she comes to all my games," she
says, adding that her grandmother
and brother also come to watch
her play. "A lot of my high school
friends' parents live in town, and
they also come to my games or say
they read about me in the paper.
Gainesville is a great community."
UF head soccer coach Becky
Burleigh says Eisenbrown's success
on the field is bolstered by her local
"I think it is great that Kelli has
had the success she's experienced
in front of her hometown crowd,"
Burleigh says. "There are always
people in the crowd cheering for
her when she's in the game, and I
think that's exciting for her."
After receiving her bachelor's
degree, Eisenbrown says she would
like to attend graduate school in
Florida for an advanced physical
Although she wants to be a
physical therapist, she says she
would like to continue playing
soccer, even if just in pick-up games
"I've been playing soccer for 17
years, and it's a big part of my life,"
Eisenbrown says. "Soccer is not
something you can quit cold tur-
key. You can't stop doing something
- Meredith Jean Morton (BSJ '06)
Soccer defender Kelli Eisenbrown will play her senior season this fall. The
Gators were 14-6-5 overall last year, 7-1-3 in the Southeastern Conference.
r ... ..
Running short on time?
We found a little ex-
tra time or at least
some fancy timepieces
while taking a few
minutes to stroll around
the university. Can you
find these campus chro-
nometers? Check your
answers on page 22.
Hitting the Bricks
n o t e S
UF now offers a graduate student
health insurance package. Ga-
torGradCare is free to individual
eligible graduate students and
available at a reduced rate for stu-
dents with dependents. Officials
hope the plan, which is competi-
tive with plans at peer institutions,
will draw more graduate students
to the university.
NEW YEAR BOOK: A new year-
book will be available to black UF
students this spring. "The Black
Book," which is being produced
by the newly formed Intellectual
Ink Publications, will focus on the
65 black organizations on campus
and events such as Black History
Month and Black Student Wel-
TAKING FLIGHT: The Florida Mu-
seum of Natural History opened
its new Florida Wildflower and
Butterfly Garden as part of the
inaugural Florida Butterfly Festival
in October. The exhibit show-
cases wildflowers essential to
the butterfly's life cycle, including
the coreopsis, the state's official
For the latest UF news, visit http://
... And what UF's docs are doing to stop them.
I SUNLIGHT FILTERS THROUGH TOWERING WINDOWS IN
STHE HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER COMPLEX. IN ITS MANY
BUILDINGS ARE EXPERTS IN MORE THAN 200 DISCIPLINES.
THERE, PHYSICIANS AND RESEARCHERS POUR OVER GRANT
PROPOSALS AND PATIENT HISTORIES. STUDENTS DISCUSS
AND ANALYZE SEEMINGLY NEVER-ENDING EXPERIMENTS.
They all are in search of cures to the most common diseases that claim 6,500 Americans
- fathers, daughters, best friends each day.
The researchers' foes are cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and chronic lower respira-
tory disease. The diseases are the forces behind our gym memberships and the reasons we
hate to love fast food. All together, these ailments cost Americans $712 billion each year,
equal to roughly 14 million BMW Roadster convertibles or 65,000 luxury Learjets.
UF has amassed more than $ ~o research grants and other funding to stamp
out these five most feared
Here is a report fron'
BY ANN GRISWOLD (PHD '06)
Illustrations by Ben Hofer
:F;:~ ..-. ~,:
", ANNUAL US DEATH TOLL 910,000, OR ONE EVERY 35 SECONDS
.ANNUAL COST:$259 BILLION
Sa-dagerous tumor circulating. "One of my
Many women, it seems, believe heart disease is patients is the
tais condition. They couldn't be more wrong. mother of a
Hear disease an umbrella term that encompass- Health Center
aFi air rau ia, ngenital hert disease, lt ne
coronary ~rter disease, cardiomyopathy and mfered a hea
Other d isbrdir s o he hart, kills almost as suffered a hea
;n. iy people m.ei ahd women as attack several
cancer, stk, respatory diaeas and years ago. She was
diab s combiinil. nd for every 100 told that she was
w meh d i this year, 35 will be too old at age
i diabetes an:d high blood pesre. In addition But she sought another opinion, and we
mare-sidaldieai were able to stabilize her condition. As she.
homoe,'ieay h8 !- and moo
D on heaIrt dim inpost -inenopausal grew stronger, we discussed options and I
Dr. Marian Lintacher cla~~or d the, felt that she had exactly the positive attitude
us clinical invest ation p Ogra says as U that would lead to a good:tmulL She did well
researhhie p ee :idias beccinie a leadr with surgery, has no more ch:t pisadi
or te i i ntiad:aceds hat failuite, as : back to moving her lawn ocedures. spic care
heart: rnsplai sfa resource forarryrh (occasionally even for us i kdiniKc. Nd-
I..A. MrftM .i m h
.'"., -c--'. .. .. .o. i :h..' w ithlhospice." '"'. ,, -
:' "... -, ,, "-,-: ; ^ ': : *., "':"' ""wereaetprofessor ofcandw. e
UF clinics and institutes: five
:k UF research funding: $7.72 million
i't;'''~rsea 'Ii .... ...,-"L'.' "w"ith surgery,, has no "i m'or"e-"",', ,kk' ,,: " .. "P" :Pat~ .= "'"
~ ~ ~ ~~~-ra rjvnne ..h"e.-ir'':-,. "' "" "tfilue """-s,".' back to moin he law ".:''' 6166 "
.': i'," -... /;" --- ',;e'i .. ":,.',.'""". ... a:.. resource .o ca inal even for 's lip". "'. ",.' .) ".. ,:.
"Oil-in-Water" Nanoemulsion technol
.,' t,' ; and treat atherosclerosis
.' Self-regulating ventricular assist devi
_ ..* :..i .. .... ,.
-,...,.-~~~~~~~~ ~ ~~~~~ ., .. ...-,:-.< -,-, ,. .. .,, ." :.. .
gy to improve cholesterol levels
Sto treat congestive heart failure
..~; .: i VI.
.' '.: ......
..' . . ", "*"'' f.- "
,i -. .,.-.. ..':: :' .-" '.. ,,..,
ANNUAL U.S. DEATH TOLL 564830, OR ON E-VERY MINUTEE, :
ANNUAL COST: $210 BILLION
One of ever) four deaths this year will oc-
cur when renegade masses of cells-- otherwise
known as cancerous rumors spread uncontrol-
lably throughout the body.
But there's good news: more than half of all
cancer deaths can be prevented by maintaining a
healthy lifestyle. Poor nutrition, obesiry, physical
inactivity and cigarette smoking together account
for 63 percent of all cancer deaths.
UF scientists and clinicians are taking diverse
approaches to treating and preventing cancer. In
particular, researchers are developing methods
for transplanting blood stem cells, a technique
that promises to prevent or reverse the effects of
"There's been an explosion of effort and activ-
ity in cancer research at this institution," says Dr.
John Wingard, professor of medicine and direc-
tor of the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant
Program. "When you look back six or eight years
ago, there were only a couple of cancer research-
ers on campus. Now there are 30. The amount of
funding from the National Cancer Institute has
gone up from a few thousand dollars to over $8
That growth has resulted in plans for a new
cancer center across the street from Shands and
the recently opened University of Florida Proton
Therapy Institute in Jacksonville, one of only five
centers in the nation in which atomic particles
called protons are used to precisely target cancer
tumors. Traditional methods usually subject a
patient's entire body to radiation.
"We have very strong research and clinical
programs in radiation therapy, pediatrics, breast
cancer, head and neck cancer, bone therapy
transplantation, and many others," says Wingard.
"There's been an enormous investment in cancer
research at this institution."
tumor who have come to us from as far
away as South America and Europe. We..
have cured 12 patients ofa problem previ-
ously considered incurable, with a novel
treatment developed here at the University
professor of medicine, medical director of
the University ofFlorida
Proton Therapy Institute
UF clinics and institutes: seven
UF research funding: $32 million
* Enhanced imaging systems for early cancer detection
* The LINAC Scalpel, now a leading system for radiosurgery
* SiRNA technology to silence cancer-related genes
* Superantigen treatment to enhance the body's immune response
against cancer cells
4-I; r;., ;;
,; ; gp
.. 1~ ~
:"'~. I;' .:
"One day a
called me about
a woman with
a very difficult
had been treated
years earlier for
breast cancer ard
developed a rare .
secondary cancer called angiosarcoma. My
colleague removed the angiosarcoma, but it.
returned a few months later and was rapidly
spreading across the woman's chest wall.
Secondary angiosarcomas are extraordinarily
aggressive and nearly always fatal.
"Remembering an experience my col-
league and mentor, Dr. Rusty Marcus, had
once shared with me, I decided to try some-
thing different for this patient. He told me
about a child with a primary angiosarcoma
that grew between daily radiation treatments.
He treated the child twice a day but still the
rumor grew, so he increased the radiation to
three times a day. The tumor finally respond-
ed and the child was cured.
"So I treated our patient three times a day
with radiation therapy in small doses. To our
surprise, the tumor stopped growing and
began to regress. By the end of treatment the
tumor was gone. This patient is alive today,
nine years later, enjoying her-retirement and
encouraging other patients with this rare
"gn i tis .a.e
ANNUAL U.S. DEATH TOLL 157,000,
OR ONE EVERY THREE MINUTES
ANNUAL COST: $57.9 BILLION
Sudden weakness in an arm or a leg. Con-
fusion. Trouble speaking. Difficulty walking.
Every 45 seconds, someone suffers a stroke. The
condition occurs when blood flow to the brain
is interrupted, often because of a blood clot or a
ruptured blood vessel.
Stroke victims often suffer long-lasting cogni-
tive and motor impairments, as well as difficult)
speaking and swallowing. Researchers from six
different UF departments are tackling the chal-
lenge of stroke rehabilitation, relying on their
diverse areas of expertise to formulate innovative
treatment options, says Dennis Steindler, director
of UFs McKnight Brain Institute.
In addition to these studies, Steindler is par-
ticularly excited about UF's progress on novel
gene therapies and stem cell treatments to protect
at-risk brain cells and rebuild brain circuitries
damaged by stroke.
"Every time someone calls me with questions
about how regenerative medicine is going to help
them live with a neurological challenge, our ensu-
ing discussions about hope for the future always
remind me how important this work is and how
we must get this exciting science from the re-
search bench to the bedside as soon as possible,"
UF. clinic .and institutes: six
i.UF reseaIrch funding: $6.57 million
UF innovations: :
S: A device to remove stroke-causing material from blood vesot
The Mericle Infusion Device, which delivers drugs to the bra
e of amino acids as drugs to treat neurological disorders
winter 2007 13
"In my work
in the rehabilita-
tion of swallowing
being able to help
a patient return
to eating with
their family is the
best outcome. A
patient once told
me that he had
always taken swallowing for granted, but that
following his stroke, not being able to eat
safely had taken the luster out of life. After
intensive treatment this patient was finally
able to eat without requiring tube feeding
supplements. He told me, 'It's like you've
opened the window for me and I have my
life again.' I would like to think all of us who
work in stroke rehab offer that kind of hope
to our patients."
assistant professor ofrommunicative disorders
ANNUAL U.S. DEATH TOLL: 124,555, OR ONE EVERY FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES
ANNUAL COST: $53.3 BILLION
While the name chronic lower respiratory
disease may not sound familiar, its manifestations
are sure to ring a bell: asthma, emphysema,
chronic bronchitis and chronic airway
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis often co-
exist as "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,"
or COPD. The condition is almost entirely
caused by cigarette smoke, although nonsmokers
occasionally develop emphysema because of an
inherited deficiency in alpha-1 an itrypsin, a
protein that protects the lungs from damage.
The COPD clinic and Center of Excellence
at UF were recently awarded a $2 million grant
from the state of Florida to determine how
tobacco smoke causes COPD.
UF medical researchers are working
with the College of Engineering to develop
nanorechnology-based tools for early detection of
COPD. Because COPD is almost impossible to
reverse, it's important to catch the disease as early
"COPD is expected to become the third
leading cause of death very soon," says Veena
Antony, professor of medicine and chief of
Pulmonary and Critical Care at UE
While COPD typically affects middle-aged
smokers, asthma can strike anyone, at any age. UF
research has made strides toward detecting and
treating asthma in children. The university has
also created a program to identify children at risk
for a life-threatening asthmatic attack, says Paul
Davenport, professor of physiological sciences.
st. -- .
U clinics and instfi te six
SUF research funding $l l3mJilioni
* Gene therapy treatment 'for'Alpha 1-Antitrypsin
deficiency, a major causebof emphysema in
A modified metered-dose~inhaler systemfor
Air purification devices:hatpurify:the airewithout
a filter, including ana i ridph'tocatajytic
oxidation system, afnii criati ` disiifection
process and an air/ finctiriwsytem
"My research with
children with life-threat-
ening asthma has allowed
me to meet and work
with many wonderful
young people. One child
who had severe asthma
was tested in my lab
when she was a 12-year-
old patient. I was able to
work with this child in
several studies. She eventually came to the Univer-
sity of Florida as an undergraduate and volunteered
to work in my laboratory. When she graduated,
she was accepted into my lab as a doctoral student
and in the next year will complete her doctorate in
respirator), physiology It is particularly gratifying to
have a subject become part of the next generation of
professor ofphysiological sciences
ANNUAL U.S. DEATH TOLL 73,249, OR ONE EVERY SEVEN MINUTES
ANNUAL COST: $132 BILUON
An astounding 7 percent of the American
population that's 21 million adults and chil- '
dren are affected by diabetes. Because diabetics
are prone to developing serious complications
such as heart disease and stroke, the actual death S
toll boosts this killer even higher up the list.
Diabetes comes in two forms. Type 1 is an
auto-immune disorder that affects mostly chil-
dren and requires daily insulin injections. Type 2
diabetes is Far more common and typically strikes
Dr. Desmond Schatz, professor of pediatrics
and director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence
at UF, says major efforts are under way to under-
stand the genetics and immunopathogenicity of
diabetes. In addition, UF researchers are among
the first in the country to test a novel stem cell
therapy for Type 1 diabetes that uses cells derived
from the patient's own umbilical cord blood.
"There are a number of people out there who
have banked umbilical cord blood and have gone
on to develop medical problems later in life," says
Dr. Michael Haller, assistant professor of pediat-
rics. "We're hoping that those stem cells might be
usable as a therapy in the future."
UF clinics and institutes: four
UF research funding: $6.9 million
* Cell replacement therapy for
restoration of insulin-producing
cells in patients with Type I
* Gene therapy to prevent onset of
Type I diabetes by delivery of anti-
inflammatory cytokines and/or
"People come from all over the Southeast
to participate in these research efforts. Many
start off as research patients and then con-
tinue. I first saw one patient when she was 12
- she was at risk for diabetes. We followed
her and tried to prevent the disease, but we
were unsuccessful. I continued to take care of
her, and now she's married and is a teacher.
She got pregnant; her child was born and he's
at risk for diabetes. Now I'm following him
in a research study. Once part of the research
family, they're always part of the research
professor and associate chairman
winter 2007 15
Heard 'Round the World
FESTIVITIES FOR THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME EXTENDED WELL BEYOND THE BORDERS OF GAINESVILLE
AND GLENDALE. THE GATOR NATION CHEERED AND CHOMPED ON DIFFERENT CONTINENTS, IN DIFFERENT TIME
ZONES, ON DIFFERENT DAYS, BUT ALL SHARED THE SAME SENTIMENT ITS GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR.
In Chicago, the Windy City Gator Club gathered at a bar to watch the
game, listening to "Orange and Blue" and "We are the Boys from Old Florida"
over the loudspeakers. "Five hundred swaying Gators in a bar in Chicago is a
sight to see," wrote Justin Catches (BS '02).
In New York City, the Gotham Gator Club spread out 1,000 of its mem-
bers over several viewing locations, with renditions of Queen's "We Are the
Champions" heard along Amsterdam Avenue and in Gramercy Park after the
game, wrote Rich Scavetta (BSBA '99).
Across the Atlantic Ocean, it was already Jan. 9 when the BCS National
Championship game began. In Dublin, Ireland, Cindy McMillen (BA '84)
enjoyed a cup of coffee the day before the game with her good friend, an
Ohio State Buckeye from a family of Seminoles and Bulldogs. Early the next
morning, with a 1 a.m. kickoff time, McMillen watched the game on satellite
TV with her husband Scott (BS '90, MS '02) and one of her sons, afterwards
phoning her Buckeye friend to share news of the Gator win.
In Djibouti, Andy Yi (BSBA '04), a Marine first lieutenant serving with
Operation Enduring Freedom (in Africa), woke at 3:15 a.m. to cheer on his
Gators. With the game ending as the new day was beginning, Yi climbed on
top of a helicopter, proudly waving a Gator flag sent to him by a fraternity
brother. "Unfortunately, the safety officer caught me standing up there, and I
got my butt chewed," writes Yi. "But it was totally worth it."
BY JAMISON WEBB (4JM)
winter 2007 17
"IN THIS AREA
... HE'S REALLY
BE THE PAINTERS
BOTH THE PUBLIC
AND HIS FELLOW
CURATOR AT THE
MAINLAND ART CENTER
FORMER BASEBALL RECORD HOLDER TURNED FINE ARTIST MAURY HURT
PAINTS A PORTRAIT OF PASSION AND REVERENCE.
For years, Maury Hurt was unaware
of his place in Gator history. As a
baseball player at UF from 1954 to
1956, he enjoyed moderate suc-
cess. A speedy centerfielder who
played high school ball in Orlando,
he won a spot on the Gators and
wound up starting part of the time,
despite having three classes that
interfered with afternoon practices
his senior year.
Hurt was oblivious, though, to
his greatest individual achievement
on the field.
On April 28, 1956 the year
the Gators won an SEC title -
Hurt tripled three times in a game,
tying the school's all-time record
with Haywood Sullivan ('50-'5 I),
who set the record just five seasons
earlier and would go on to own
the Boston Red Sox. The record
stands to this day. Yet, until a friend
attended a UF game four decades
later, saw his name in the program
and brought it to his attention, the
moment was only etched some-
where in the back of his mind.
"1 didn't remember it imme-
diately. But then I thought back,
'Yeah, it was a game against Tennes-
see.' I hit two down the third-base
line and one between center and
right field. I did it," says Hurt (BA
'56), now 72, proudly with a grin.
Well, excuse Hurt for the faint
memory, but since leaving Gaines-
ville with a bachelor's degree in de-
sign, he's been a bit busy. Hurt has
managed a triple of another sort.
He's gone from graphic designer
to fine artist to iconic figure in the
Central Florida arts scene.
These days, Hurt, the painter,
is crafting an assortment of touted
works while influencing scores of
artists and viewers with vision,
technical brilliance and spirituality.
With styles that have shifted from
surrealism to realism to impres-
sionism, he paints everything from
landscapes, portraits and still lifes
to interiors, dreamscapes and eth-
nography, such as a collection of
authentic African masks.
"In this area Central Florida
- he's really considered to be the
painter's painter. He's esteemed by
Maury Hurt long ago traded his ball and glove for a paintbrush, evolving into
one of Central Florida's leading artists.
For more than 40 years Maury Hurt has explored an array of painting styles and subjects with much success. One of his oil
paintings, an untitled seascape, was recently listed for sale on the Internet for more than $8,000.
both the public and his fellow art-
ists," says Richard Colvin, curator
at the Maitland Art Center. "It's a
combination of impeccable tech-
nique and also a kind of visionary
approach to his subject matter. He
combines those in a way that really
puts him in the upper echelon."
Hurt also sculpts. And, for good
measure, a longtime associate calls
him "one of the last true gentle-
men" and a "renaissance man."
Self-described as a country boy
with a love for hunting and few
social skills, Hurt arrived in Gaines-
ville in 1952 intent on leaving as an
illustrator for outdoor sports maga-
zines. Classes at UF steered him
toward graphic design. Less than
five years into a graphic arts career,
his path dramatically changed.
He was offered the opportunity
to complete a painting for a client
who sought to represent eight di-
verse divisions of a company. Hurt
accepted and was hooked.
"That did it," he recalls. "I
wasn't interested in graphic art
anymore. I just wanted to keep on
painting. So I quit my job."
Fortuitous move. Within a year,
he held a solo art exhibition in
Orlando, followed by numerous
other solo shows and group exhibi-
tions, along with participation in
various public and private collec-
tions. His status as a serious artist
grew steadily, although he's unsure
how or why.
"What I've come to realize is
that what's important about a
painting is the mood that the view-
er feels, and the mood is created by
the colors," he says. "I have a good
intuitive sense of design and color.
But if you ask me to analyze it, I
couldn't do it."
Hurt's big revelation came in
1972 while working on a simple
painting of an apple on a stool. Af-
ter two days of dissatisfying effort,
the next day brought new perspec-
tive. He noticed movement in his
model apple, essentially seeing the
entire room reflected in the apple.
"I call it a revelation. Suddenly,
I realized something that I hadn't
realized before, and it made a big
difference in my paintings," he says.
"There's another dimension to
think about when we start working
with colors. One is that you have
local [basic] color of the object.
Then you have the reflective col-
ors." As such, while an apple is red,
its reflective colors could present an
entirely different palette.
Indeed, Hurt is consumed by
the world of painting. He concedes
his obsession: "I might not lay on
color every day, but I'm certainly
thinking about it. I work Saturday
and Sunday if I feel like it, and I
usually want to."
Nonetheless, Hurt does have
a life outside the four walls of his
studio. Once married, he helped
raise two step-daughters who re-
main dose. He has a 5-year-old
granddaughter, Mauri, named after
him, and a 19-year-old grandson
he mentored like a father. He is
in daily contact with his younger
brother, Pete, who joined him at
UF in 1953 for one year. Also,
Hurt taught himself to play the vio-
lin and became somewhat accom-
plished before progressive hearing
loss prevented him from continuing
a few years ago. He is a fencing
enthusiast, too, still taking classes
weekly. "I'm not one to just go out
and jog," he says, "With fencing,
you exercise, plus it's a sport."
Mostly, however, Hurt strives to
be a giver and seeks to bare his soul.
While painting hasn't necessarily
meant financial riches, it has deliv-
ered personal fulfillment.
"It's stimulating and wonder-
ful, and I feel fortunate to be able
to have a thought and then find
some form to communicate the
thought," he says. "For me, art is
a way of communicating. When
people look at my work, I want my
work to tell them what kind of a
person I was in my life and what I
was interested in.
"I want to leave behind an im-
pression of myself."
winter 2007 19
FORMER GATOR STANDOUT MEGAN MELGAARD
MAKES HER HOLLYWOOD DEBUT.
The old warehouse was dark.
Megan Melgaard, a 5-foot-8, freck-
le-faced 26-year-old redhead, stood
shivering with 14 other young
people in a small, shallow pool just
15 feet across. Lights dangled from
the ceiling. Melgaard knew she was
in the middle of nowhere, and the
hours seemed to drag on forever as
her limbs got more and more tired
and her body grew colder. The wa-
ter temperature continued to drop
because there was a man standing
there, throwing large chunks of ice
into the pool, explaining in detail
what would happen to her body as
hypothermia set in. Melgaard was
trembling and her lips were blue.
Before you feel too badly for
Melgaard (BSBA '01, MS '02),
consider that the water was actually
about 90 degrees, that most of the
"ice" was made of silicone and that
she was just faking hypothermia.
Add that famed actor Kevin
Costner was the man shoveling
ice and that fellow actor Ashton
Kutcher was sharing the cramped
pool with her, and suddenly the
scene has gone from horrifying
to intriguing for Melgaard, who
played one of the Coast Guard
trainees alongside Kutcher in the
recent film "The Guardian."
"Kevin just sat in the tub be-
tween takes and let us ask him
anything and everything that day
as we filmed the scene," Melgaard
says. "He told us stories I will never
in my life forget. He explained that
life should be an adventure, and he
told us to strive to be go-getters, to
go out and make life happen."
Listening to Costner wax philo-
sophical wasn't the only exciting ex-
perience Melgaard had while film-
ing her first major motion picture.
She flew with Kutcher in his private
jet on her way home for a holiday
break. She baked cupcakes with
Costner's wife and watched football
with Kutcher and his actress wife,
Demi Moore. Kutcher
and Moore even took
her and a group
of other actors out
for her birthday mid-
way through filming.
So how did Mel-
gaard, a former UF
swimmer with little
land such a choice
role? It all goes back
to her experience in
"I first heard
about 'The Guard- "
ian' from my swim
says. "She simply told
me some folks were
looking for swimmers
for an upcoming
film and I should call
them. I did, and went
on my first ever audi-
tion last September.
I was notified I made
the final cut and was
beside myself with
The film, which is about Kutch-
er's character becoming a Coast
Guard rescue swimmer, required
Melgaard to meet some very real
standards. "I had to meet all the
real requirements of a Coast Guard
Megan Melgaard excelled while
swimming at UF. Now she's using
those skills to land movie roles and,
with luck, a spot on the 2008 U.S.
JUST SAT IN THE
TAKES AND LET
US ASK HIM
THAT DAY AS
WE FILMED ... HE
LIFE SHOULD BE
rescue swimmer-in-training," she
says. Her trainers were real Coast
Guard instructors, and she had
to perform tasks such as 60 push-
ups in a minute, 70 sit-ups in a
minute, a two-mile run in less 15
minutes and a 500-yard swim in
"If you would have come to
the boot camp we were running
in November and looked on the
pool deck, you wouldn't have
known they weren't real students,"
says Butch Flythe, one of Mel-
gaard's movie trainers. "We didn't
give them as many reps as we
would and we don't yell at them
like we would a real student, but
as far as going through it and
looking like real students, they
snapped together within about
It was hard work, but Mel-
gaard is no stranger to intensive
training. While at UF, she was
a five-time All-American and a
silver medalist in the women's
4x200-meter relay at the Pan
American Games in Winnipeg,
Canada. She also managed to
juggle her athletic career with a
heavy academic schedule, which
allowed her to earn a master's
degree in Decision and Informa-
tion Sciences in just four and a
Melgaard hopes to build on
what she's started in Hollywood.
Now living in Santa Monica, Ca-
lif., she recently finished working
In the movie "The Guardian,"
Megan Melgaard shared screen
time with actor Kevin Costner (in
background), who played her Coast
on a film about an Ironman com-
petitor with leukemia in Hawaii,
and she'll soon be hosting shows
for the Veterans Network, a new
She also hopes to make a run
for the 2008 Summer Olympics in
"My dream has always been
to make an Olympic Team, and
swimming at the University of
Florida acted as a building block to
achieving this dream," she says. "I
was able to train with a plethora of
elite athletes on a day-to-day basis,
all with similar goals."
-Kristin Harmel (BSJ '01)
winter 2007 21
HITTING THE BRICKS
ANSWERS FROM PAGE 9:
The tall black clock outside
the Stephen C. O'Connell
Center was donated in mem-
ory of Todd Prosser (BS '97,
MS '99), who died of a heart
attack in 2000 at age 25; the
unfinished Teaching Clock
Tower outside Weil Hall will
be used as a teaching device
for engineering students when
construction is complete.
UF's Darkest Hours
A Special "My Old School"
Sixteen years ago, the discovery of five students murdered in their apartments sparked terror in the
UF and Gainesville communities. On Oct. 25, the state of Florida executed Danny Rolling, who was
convicted of the serial killings. As this chapter in UF history drew to a close, Florida magazine asked
readers to share their memories of that time. These are some of the thoughts they shared.
Although 16 years have passed
since my first semester at UF, the
memories of that time still linger,
fresh and vivid. Picking up the
Alligator, reading newsprint stained
with the headlines of murder, I
was stunned. Only a few days be-
fore, I and scores of other students
had waited patiently to use the
freight elevator to bring our larger
necessities up to the third floor of
Weaver Hall. The scent of fresh
paint hung in the air, stirred with
the clamor of stereos, laughter and
the echoes of parents dragging out
their goodbyes. We may have been
on our own, but we were all still
kids, dealing with the reality of a
horrific crime, right in the middle
of our newly found paradise. In
the ensuing days, the news of more
murders was simply overwhelming.
My roommates went home. Classes
were canceled. An entire city was
held hostage in their own homes,
wrestling with a fear so intense it
was as if none of us could catch our
breath. In the middle of the night
I cried for them, yet I never knew
them. It didn't matter, I didn't have
to know them. They were me, and
they were every other student in
Gainesville. We mourned them
collectively, looked over our own
shoulders and watched our friends'
backs. We became an incredibly
dose campus that fall, something
I doubt any of us expected. As we
celebrated their lives with candle-
light vigils, uniting different faiths,
different races, and different gen-
ders, we created a bond larger than
ourselves. Sonja, Christina, Christa,
Tracy, and Manuel you will
never know how many lives you
touched. We still remember.
Sean Kent (BA '96)
I distinctly remember sitting
in a large lecture hall one day, com-
pletely distracted with thoughts
over the deaths of fellow students.
Yet, instead of pondering whether
or not a murderer was among the
student body, I looked at empty
seats and thought of the students
taken from us. Not knowing the
victims didn't matter. All that mat-
tered was that they were one of us.
We were all vulnerable. It was that
vulnerability that brought friends
closer together walking together,
eating together and literally camp-
ing six to ten strong in apartments.
Even the night was darker. Sleep
was painful as you listened closely
for sounds and shuddered to hear
sirens. Would you wake up to the
morning or to a murderous intruder?
Canceled evening classes, law enforce-
ment patrols everywhere and students
carrying crude weapons added to the
awkward intensity of the time. To this
day, songs and certain friends take me
back to that time stirring memories
of fear, friendships and the darkest of
Tec Clark (BSR '96)
On the day of the killings in
1990, I was at work in my office
at Charleston, S.C. Several weeks
before, my wife and I had helped
our son, Devin (BABC '92) get
settled into his apartment at Gator-
wood Apartments on Archer Road.
He was starting his junior year and
shared the apartment with another
ROTC scholarship student. His
apartment building was in a corner
area near the tennis court for the
I got a call from him late in the
afternoon. It was unusual for him
to call at all, really. He then told
me that in the building next to his
three students had been murdered
the previous night, and it was all
over the national news. The victims'
door was only about 50 feet from
his apartment door. We decided
to keep this terrible event from his
mother, who was at home at the
time. Patsy was a school teacher
who didn't watch much TV, and we
didn't want to upset her.
When I got home about 6 p.m.,
she had not turned on the TV.
We did sit down in the den and
ate dinner on TV trays as usual.
She usually watched a sitcom or
something light to take her mind
off the day's stress. However, on
this particular night, she wanted to
watch the 6:30 p.m. national news.
I tried to suggest something else,
but to no avail. I thought maybe it
(the UF report) won't be on, or she
won't notice anything familiar. The
first thing that came on the news
was a film shot of the murder spot
in Gatorwood Apartments. She
looked at it for a few seconds and
said to me, "Isn't that where Devin
lives?" I remarked, "I don't think
so," and tried to change the subject.
Well, the TV news report just got
more and more detailed about the
murder scene and even panned on
the building where Devin lived.
She asked me if I was aware of all
this, and I had to finally confess I
did know about it. When I told her
that Devin had called me at work,
and we were not going to tell her
because we knew it would upset
her, she was livid! She immediately
called Devin and told him she
wanted him to come home. He
said no, of course, and she said she
was going to come to Gainesville
and get him. After a while she
calmed down a little bit, maybe
- with him, anyway. She wanted
to know everything he knew and
how he and the rest of the residents
planned to protect themselves. This
was a long conversation with him,
and not the least bit satisfying to
her. Afterwards, she read me the
riot act about not telling her about
this. I promised never again to keep
anything like this from her.
Devin graduated in 1992 with
a bachelor's degree in building
construction. He is now a U.S.
Marine Corps major deployed with
the 24th MEU in the Persian Gulf.
He is married to the former Mirka
Jimenez (BSR '90), they have three
children and live in Jacksonville,
- Robert Young (BSBA '62, MA '64)
I was a 19-year-old sophomore
when the murders occurred. I
remember some rather gruesome
nightmares during the following
week about being stabbed to death.
After installing a lock on my bed-
room door, buying a gun and learn-
ing how to use it, the nightmares
suddenly stopped. I posted my
targets from target practice on my
front door as a warning (I was quite
a good shot). I remember being
drawn very close to my friends as
we all traveled in groups for safety
and called each other frequently
just to make sure each of us was
safe. I think the experience made
me grow up a bit faster, realizing
the importance of our relationships
with friends and family, and the
responsibility that one must take
for his or her own safety.
--ill (Watkins) Miller (BS '91,
PhD '98, MD '00)
Brockport, N. Y.
It was the week before I was to
start classes at UF as a freshman,
and it was the first time I had ever
lived away from home. Having
opted out of living in the dorms,
my roommate and I had just moved
into Regency Oaks apartments at
34th Street and Archer Road. All
of our information came via the
TV and newspapers. I remember
being told to lock my windows and
doors and never go out alone, day
I had come from a small town
where people locked their doors
only at night and never locked
up their cars. I remember looking
around wondering how putting
pins in my apartment's sliding glass
doors and screw-on locks on the
windows was going to keep me safe
if the murderers really wanted in. If
they got in, would the baseball bat
I had do any good?
Luckily, my roommate and I
had friends in Gainesville, and we
stayed with them at night for the
better part of a week. I recall that
after Labor Day, some of my class-
mates didn't come back to school.
As the evidence against Danny
Rolling mounted in the coming
months, I had the uncomfortable
feeling that I could have been one
of the victims based on my location
during that week. I had opened a
checking account the same day he
had robbed the First Union Bank,
and I had been to Wal-Mart ev-
eryday that week for supplies for
the apartment. Later I found out
that his camp was a mere 200 yards
behind my apartment complex.
The day he confessed to the
crimes was in the spring of my se-
nior year. The special edition of the
Alligator really brought a sense of
relief that I as safe in Gainesville.
I had many happy memories while
a student at UF. The first two weeks
of that tenure are not included
At about 8 a.m. one morning
that week, I was in the McCarty
Hall parking lot and saw two
young men walking toward the
woods that link the parking lot to
Museum Road, and one said to the
other: "Do you think it's safe to
walk there?" My heart stopped and
I couldn't believe what I had just
heard. If two fairly tall and strong-
looking young men thought twice
about walking on a short path right
next to a busy building in the light
of day, then Gainesville truly was
Linda Benjamin Bobroff
My daughter and her roommate
lived in an apartment complex on
16th Avenue off 13th Street, not
too far from where the killings
took place. She and her roommate
refused to come home. Both sets
of parents drove to Gainesville that
first weekend to make sure their
apartment was as secure as pos-
sible. Since my daughter worked at
the Alligator and kept late hours,
I asked her to phone me day and
night, whenever she left her apart-
ment or returned. She did (prob-
ably five to six calls per day), but
even that didn't help abate the fears
that pervaded my being. It was an
event I hope will never be repeated.
Valerie Ginn (BSN '64)
You wait your entire teenage
life for the freedom of living in-
dependently as a college student.
As the horror unfolded, so many
thoughts and fears ran through my
mind: relief that I didn't resemble
the girls he seemed to target, an-
ger that my roommate's parents
promptly withdrew her from school
and moved her back to West Palm
Beach, leaving me alone in the
apartment. I spent many nights on
my boyfriend's mother's couch in
Kathy was well-armed and
skilled with a rifle, so I actu-
ally slept through the night in her
home. Months went by with fitful,
fearful sleep. A wary individual
before the experience, I became
paranoid at all times that anyone I
encountered could be the killer. I
worked at Shands Hospital and the
walk from the parking lot bus to
my car was terrifying.
continuedd on next page)
winter 2007 23
U FALU MNI I
"My Old School"
Continued from page 23
It was the worst of times and
still overshadows my "college expe-
rience" in my memory.
-Amy Bailey BMLUSE '93)
Before the student murders, we
never even locked the doors. We'd
certainly never argue over it. To this
day, I always lock the door behind
me. It drives my husband nuts and
sometimes takes repairmen and other
visitors off guard in the sleepy little
Arkansas town where we now live.
That time permanently changed
the way I feel about personal securi-
ty and changed many of my behav-
iors for life. It was the first time I
ever felt "terrorized." I've felt terror
again since we all have but it
was never nearly as personal as my
experience in Gainesville during the
- Heather (Pirozzoli) Earl (BA '92,
I remember being a brand new
graduate hall director in Rawlings
Hall at the start of the school year
in 1990. We had just completed
our extensive training when the
unthinkable and unimaginable
happened in Gainesville. Our inno-
cence was lost at the exact moment
that word got out about the horrific
murders of two students, then three,
then five. Rumors were rampant,
and while they were often unsub-
stantiated and false, both men and
women students were frightened
and paranoia was palpable. On-
campus housing opened its doors to
off-campus students and staff mem-
bers, including myself, who doubled
and tripled up with our peers, taking
turns on who would stay up and
keep watch. We booby-trapped
the windows and doors and scared
ourselves half to death with the fear
of the unknown.
The small miracle that hap-
pened was watching the leadership
of a new president, John Lombardi,
exhibit a calm voice and steady
hand. He refused to close the
University of Florida in the wake
of this incredibly frightening and
tragic time, announcing publicly
that routine was paramount to
keeping us safe and sane. He lit up
the campus, encouraged the buddy
system and saw a community and
campus come together like it never
had before. His was a beacon of
light in our darkest hour.
It is hard to believe that 16 years
have passed. I am often asked about
this time at UF and while it evokes
strong memories and images, I can-
not explain how significant a time
it was in my educational experi-
ence. It is one I shall never forget.
(BS '90, MEd '92)
There were news cameras
everywhere from all over the coun-
try, and walking across campus was
very eerie, especially when the bells
in Century Tower were chiming.
Even though there were thousands
of people on campus, it was very
quiet ... except for those bells,
which seemed to ring much louder
(BABA '03, BSR '03)
I remember the murders as if
they happened yesterday. I was get-
ting ready for my final semester at UF,
attending through the summer '90
semester in order to graduate early in
December. As a broadcast journalism
major, I worked at the campus televi-
sion station, WUFT-TV.
I remember preparing for a
special story on an upcoming elec-
tion working at the station by
myself on a Sunday night after
going running at the track. I was in
workout clothes, sweaty and gross,
but trying to get a head start on the
I remember writing my story,
alone in the newsroom, with the
typical hum of the scanner in the
background. I was concentrating
hard on my script, but at one point
I heard something on the scanner
about bodies found. Double mur-
der. Rare in Gainesville, yes. But
then I heard the address Wil-
liamsburg Apartments. The apart-
ments I had moved out of just three
months before for a different apart-
ment in the student ghetto. I didn't
believe I heard right, but a quick
call to the dispatcher confirmed
it there was a double murder
in the Williamsburg Apartments,
apartments packed with students.
I called our news director and
let him know I could grab gear
and get there quickly to cover the
story, but I wasn't dressed for the
job. He called another student to
report on the story while I shot the
video. I got there in time to watch
the crowds gather around the police
tape, standing back in horror at the
scene unfolding. I was familiar with
some of the officers on the scene
and was able to get close enough
to hear the whispers. Two students
were dead inside just steps from
where I was standing, rolling tape
on the scene. It was horrifying
to be there as a student and a
member of the media. And my
former neighbors were horrified
at the news camera forgetting I
was a student, too, just trying to do
my job as a journalist. I remember
them calling me a vulture. My first
attack on the job as I documented
what was happening around me.
The local television station showed
up at the scene, hung out for a bit
and left. When the body bags were
removed from the apartment, I was
recording with the only video cam-
era on the scene. I still remember
what it was like looking through
the black and white lens care-
fully following the body bags from
the apartment steps, down the
sidewalk, sliding into the back of
the little covered truck they used to
transport the bodies. For months, if
not years, I had nightmares watch-
ing that scene replay in my mind,
hearing the sliding sound over
and over. Still to this day more
than 16 years later I have it on
instant recall in my brain. I've seen
a lot in the years in between, cover-
ing crime scenes and reporting on
them, but that is still one of my
most vivid memories.
Little did I know that was just
the beginning of months of craziness
as a student and as a broadcaster,
covering what became the biggest
story in the nation. When the next
murders happened, we knew it was
more than a crazy coincidence, and
with the next murder scene we knew
we were not safe.
As a reporter covering these
stories, there was fear mixed with
adrenaline. I was privy to all the
facts, talking daily with the inves-
tigators. But I also heard all the
rumors about what had happened
at the crime scenes and was scared,
really scared. The town emptied of
students whose parents demanded
they return home, and mine sug-
gested it, but I felt compelled to
stay and report on what was hap-
pening around me, even after I
learned the murderer seemed to
target victims with brown hair and
brown eyes I had brown hair
and brown eyes.
As I spent days posted at the
crime scenes, waiting for the latest
facts from investigators, I some-
times wondered if the murderer was
watching me. It was told to me that
sometimes murderers did that -
returned to the scene of the crime
- and I was anxious about it.
I was also anxious about going
home to an empty apartment. My
roommates both guys had
returned to their homes, and I
stuck it out. By myself. That was
tough, too. I was paranoid before
the murders always afraid to
watch scary movies but this was
real. I'd walk in my apartment each
night always with a neighbor
walking through with me check-
ing behind doors and in closets to
make sure someone wasn't waiting
there to "get" me. I'd have to call
the relatives and friends who left
messages on the answering machine
throughout the day, checking to
make sure I was still OK. Then I'd
try desperately to chase the bad
images from my head and get some
sleep staring out the window
at branches that formed shapes of
bodies, tricking my mind that I
was being watched. I'd eventually
sleep with a bottle of hairspray
by my bed and a scuba knife under
my pillow, to use as protection in
case someone did break in. Then,
the next morning, I'd have to call
all the same people who had called
the night before to let them know I
was still alive. And I'd return to the
newsroom, crossing my fingers that
another body wasn't discovered.
The following weeks and
months were crazy, and the entire
university changed. The open-door
parties, so common before, stopped
for a bit. We tried to relax and have
fun, but we all were a bit more
cautious having gone through this.
It touched all our lives. Somehow,
we knew these victims. They were
friends, or friends of friends. It all
hit way too close to home. But we
were alive. And it hit me then I
needed to live my life to the fullest
because these victims would never
get the chance.
Desiree Landers Miller
While my husband was
attending college, I worked for
University Management Inc., a
property management company in
Gainesville that ran Summit House,
Treehouse Village and Brandywine
When the murders happened,
you could only imagine how the
out-of-town parents of all of the
student residents responded. They
were calling frantically if they could
not reach their child (this was be-
fore cell phones). We had to check
each apartment throughout our
complexes, and if they did not open
the door we had to let ourselves
in. It was a scary time. I, too, am a
petite brunette (that was Rolling's
"type"). No one felt safe. I know
that many of the residents left their
apartments and moved back home.
Those of us who stayed were a bit
My daughter had just trans-
ferred to UF to join my son, who
was also there. We were unable to
locate suitable on-campus housing
and ended up renting a house for
her and three (what were to become
longtime) friends. When the events
began to unfold, we ended up
installing (at our own expense) the
most sophisticated security system
any off campus rental ever saw. We
still did not sleep well until the ar-
rest. Our judicial system is broken.
It should not take 16 years for a
confessed monster to find justice.
Richard Cope (BSBA '64)
I knew things had reached an
eruptive level of fear when I saw
two students walking past Broward
Hall with baseball bats in the mid-
dle of the day, and you accepted
- Richard Parent (BS 91, DMD 95)
Those weeks and months of fall
1990 will stay with me forever. The
terror and sadness were extreme. I
had started my senior year in vet-
erinary school I had been at the
University of Florida for seven years
since freshman year of undergrad.
We could not leave the school; we
were on clinical rotations and had
to take care of our patients. I re-
member trusting no one, and I had
a horrible feeling that the world as
we knew it had ended. Nowhere
was safe. Rumors flourished of a
satanic cult out to kill. Many of us
carried guns with us as we walked
horses around the stables or ran
between barns at night. We slept
at friends' houses and had male
friends check out our apartments
before we would go in. I slept with
a loaded gun. I was terrified. Some-
how the terror subsided and life
became more normal. I suspect life
will never become normal for the
family and friends of the victims.
What horrible crimes that no
one could have seen coming. These
were great people not doing any of
the dangerous activities of which
our parents, teachers and school
officials had warned us. Somehow
not walking alone at night, get-
ting drunk or talking to strangers
was not enough. Even a strong and
healthy male roommate was not
I don't know how we can ever
protect ourselves from such psycho-
paths, if that even describes Danny
Rolling or others committing such
heinous acts. There was no politi-
cal, financial or revenge motive, just
Now most of us who experi-
enced the Gainesville murders, as
they came to be known, are ap-
proaching our 40s and have chil-
dren of our own we feverishly want
to protect. This experience was very
real and reminds me of how vulner-
able we all are. I mourn for all of
the years, love and experiences that
the victims and their families have
missed, but cherish all that I have
been fortunate to have.
May we never forget those who
we have lost and their impact on
Amy Van Andel (DVM '91)
If my daughter becomes a mem-
ber of the UF class of 2016 (assum-
ing I can talk my wife into letting
her go), a trip to "the wall" will be
the first stop we make on our way
to the campus. She will understand
why Sonja Larson, Christa Hoyt,
Tracy Paules, Christina Powell
and Manny Taboada will never be
forgotten by their classmates and
friends in Gainesville. They will
forever remain a part of us, and
I sincerely hope they will be re-
membered by University of Florida
and Santa Fe Community College
students for years to come.
Bruce Barnard (JD '92)
winter 2007 2
Things to Do When You Graduate:
Take pictures with Albert and Alberta.
Permanently showing their spirit outside Emerson Alumni Hall, these statues of the Gator
Nation's first couple are always ready for a photo opportunity. And after completing your
time at UF, aren't these two practically family anyway?
O Exchange your Student Alumni Association membership
for an alumni membership.
As a member of the UF Alumni Association, you're privy to special discounts, ticket
opportunities and a subscription to our sister publication, UF Today magazine. It's the Gator
gift that keeps on giving.
O Dress up your mortar board.
Declarations of love, sighs of relief, statements of school spirit there's an infinite number of
L messages to be conveyed atop your cap at graduation. We recommend white tape and glitter.
O Thank Mom and Dad.
For all the support they gave you emotional, financial and otherwise. Your parents
deserve a pat on the back, too.
Get a UF alumni e-mail account.
Stay connected to the Gator Nation with your own @alumni.ufl.edu lifetime e-mail address.
s Visit www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/emailforwarding for information.
Buy a class ring.
Put great college memories at your fingertips with a specially designed "Gator wrap" class
ring from HerffJones. Available only to juniors and above, the rings are an exclusive mark of
O Sign up for season tickets.
It's best to do this as soon as you graduate because with tickets to athletic events in high
demand, it may be years before you finally get a regular seat.
0 Visit Lake Wauburg one last time.
You barbecued, boated and bathed in the sun there, so be sure to say your farewell before
leaving Gainesville. Just watch out for those gators, Gators.
Q Stock up on Gator gear.
A Gator grad can never have too much orange and blue. Alumni association members can
check www.ufalumni.ufl.edu to find member discounts on everything from Gator jerseys to
UF dog collars.
O Apply for grad school.
Continue your education through one of UF's numerous online and campus-based graduate
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
FRATERNITY PARTY ENDS IN A FROUCS FRENZY.
By Tom Watson (BME '56, BSME '56)
The Billy May Band was playing
for the Spring Frolics in 1953. I
had invited Janice Grant, a terrific
dancer from Troy, Ala., to Gaines-
ville for the festivities. At the time
I was a Sigma Chi pledge. Our
fraternity went to the big formal on
The Florida Gym was beauti-
fully decorated with hundreds of
crepe paper streamers that hung in
giant parabolas from the perimeter
of the gym to a point high above
the center of the dance floor. The
low part of the parabolas was about
15 feet off the floor. The band was
great, and Janice and I danced ev-
ery number until the dance ended
at 1 a.m.
Saturday night, Sigma Chi had a
pajama party at the house, then on
University Avenue just a little over
100 yards from the Florida Gym.
Of course, Janice and I went to
the PJ party, but we kept thinking
about the big band dance that was
going on at the gym [that night,
also]. Around 10:30 p.m. I sug-
gested to one of the brothers that
we go over to the Frolics and join
in. He said, "No, it was too early,
but it might be OK later." Janice
and I just had to dance again to
Billy May, so at about 12:30 a.m. a
dozen or so Sigma Chis and dates
walked over to the gym and joined
the formally clad crowd on the
dance floor. We were greeted mostly
with amusement and seemed to be
accepted by those in formal attire.
Because of the heat and hu-
midity resulting from thousands
of dancers over two evenings, the
crepe paper parabolas had stretched
and sagged to within nine or 10
feet of the floor. One of our pajama
clad brothers could not resist the
temptation to leap up and grab
an arm load of the streamers. His
jump triggered a free-for-all that
resulted in complete destruction of
the decoration. The devastation was
so impressive that it was the cover
page of the "Social Life" section of
the yearbook, the 1953 Seminole.
Though many others joined in,
we Sigma Chis were easily identifi-
able because of our pajamas, and
we were rightly blamed for the
whole affair. We received a year
of social probation from the IFC.
Somehow, perhaps because the
brothers forgot who initiated our
group's crashing the formal, I was
initiated into Sigma Chi.
Tom Watson is retired from
Procter & Gamble Co. and lives in
New Bern, N.C.
Have a Gator Tale ofyour own?
Send your submissions to
Florida editor, PO. Box 14425,
Gainesville, FL 32604-2425 or
Florida@uff.uftedu. Selected essays
will be edited for clarity and length
and should be no longer
than 700 words.
winter 2007 27